Posts tagged ‘david lewis’

February 9th, 2014

Q&A 38: The Infinite Set of You in the Multiverse

by Max Andrews

Question

Dear Mr. Andrews,

I came upon your blog and I shall spend the better part of the night reading it, and I have a few questions about the multiverse that I don’t understand.

First off, why is it inevitable that some parallel universes would be identical to this one? Why would there be another me, identical down to each thought, instead of endlessly unique ones? That is to say, why would there be an infinite number of universes but only a finite variety of patterns?

Also, would endlessly different ones render the fantastic real? Unicorns and Greek gods roaming universes of their own?

Or have I missed what MWI supporters are trying to say?

Also, if the multiverse allows for at least a few super civilizations to exist, so powerful that they can create their own universes or cross others, then wouldn’t they essentially function as gods, albeit not our eternal one?

Thank you so much, and Happy New Year!

Sincerely,

Katy Meyrick

November 25th, 2013

Might Some of Doctor Who actually be Possible?

by Max Andrews

The following is an article my PhD mentor, Alasdair Richmond, wrote for The Conversation

____

As Doctor Who’s 50th anniversary looms, time travel is everywhere – on the screen, at least. Famously, the Doctor can whizz through the years using a “dimensionally transcendental” machine, the TARDIS, and make changes to the past as and when he likes. But what is time travel – and how much of “Doctor Who” might really be possible?

A handy definition of time travel comes from philosopher David Lewis. Lewis says time travel involves a journey having different durations viewed from outside (in “external time”) or from inside (in “personal time”). Suppose you spend five minutes travelling aboard your machine, as measured by (e.g.) your watch and your memories. On arrival, you find 150 years have elapsed in the outside world. Congratulations, you have time-travelled. Five minutes of your personal time has covered 150 years of external time.

November 8th, 2013

The Metaphysical Multiverse

by Max Andrews

Regularity theory (RT) attempts to account for laws in a descriptive manner contra the necessitarian position (NT), which expresses the laws of nature as nomic necessity.  According to the RT the fundamental regularities are brute facts; they neither have nor require an explanation.  Regularity theorists attempt to formulate laws and theories in a language where the connectives are all truth functional.  Thus, each law is expressed with a universal quantifier as in [(x) (Px ⊃ Qx)].[1]  The NT states that there are metaphysical connections of necessity in the world that ground and explain the most fundamental regularities.  Necessitarian theorists usually use the word must to express this connection.[2]  Thus, NT maintains must-statements are not adequately captured by is-statements (must ≠ is, or certain facts are unaccounted for).[3]

November 7th, 2013

The Doctrine of Variety and Many Worlds

by Max Andrews

Thomas Aquinas believed that there was an appropriated assimilation or likeness to God found in creatures and creation.  Some likeness must be found between an effect and its cause.  It is in the nature of any agent to do something like itself.  Thus, God also gives to creatures and creation all their perfections; and thereby he has with all creatures a likeness.[1]

Additionally, the cause of variety and the multitude of things in creation find their cause in God.  Thomas contrasts himself with early Greek philosophers such as Democritus and the other atomists who argued that the distinction of things come from chance according to the movement of matter. 

January 29th, 2013

The Doctrine of Variety and the Multiverse

by Max Andrews

Thomas Aquinas believed that there was an appropriated assimilation or likeness to God found in creatures and creation.  Some likeness must be found between an effect and its cause.  It is in the nature of any agent to do something like itself.  Thus, God also gives to creatures and creation all their perfections; and thereby he has with all creatures a likeness.[1]

Additionally, the cause of variety and the multitude of things in creation find their cause in God.  Thomas contrasts himself with early Greek philosophers such as Democritus and the other atomists who argued that the distinction of things come from chance according to the movement of matter.  Thomas follows Anaxagoras in attributing the multitude to matter and to the agent involved.  Thomas identifies this agency as God since he is the creator of matter and thus the efficient cause behind the existence of the matter.  Additionally, the universality of things and the perfection of the universe must precede forth from the intention of the first agent—God.[2]  Thomas states that the distinction and variety reflects the divine goodness.

For he brought things into being in order that his goodness might be communicated to creatures, and be represented by them; and because his goodness could not be adequately represented by one creature alone, he produced many and diverse creatures, that what was wanting to one in the representation of the divine goodness might be supplied by another.  For goodness, which in God is simple and uniform, in creatures is manifold and divided and hence the whole universe together participates in the divine goodness more perfectly, and represents it better than any single creature whatever.[3]

November 26th, 2012

New Paper: The History and Macro-Ontology of the Many Worlds Interpretation of Quantum Physics

by Max Andrews

In 1956 Hugh Everett III published his Ph.D. dissertation titled “The Theory of the Universal Wave Function.”  In this paper Everett argued for the relative state formulation of quantum theory and a quantum philosophy, which denied wave collapse. (DOWNLOAD HERE)

Initially, this interpretation was highly criticized by the physics community and when Everett visited Niels Bohr in Copenhagen in 1959 Bohr was unimpressed with Everett’s most recent development.[1] In 1957 Everett coined his theory as the Many Worlds Interpretation (MWI) of quantum mechanics.  In an attempt to circumvent the problem of defining the mechanism for the state of collapse Everett suggested that all orthogonal relative states are equally valid ontologically.[2]  What this means is that all-possible states are true and exist simultaneously.

November 19th, 2012

The Top 40 Philosophers of the Last 200 Years

by Max Andrews

Below is a list of the top forty philosophers within the last 200 years. The tally was composed of 600 votes.  On a side note, I’m quite please to see David Lewis making it up to 13 and C. S. Peirce at 20.

1. Ludwig Wittgenstein  (Condorcet winner: wins contests with all other choices)
2. Gottlob Frege  loses to Ludwig Wittgenstein by 261–160
3. Bertrand Russell  loses to Ludwig Wittgenstein by 280–137, loses to Gottlob Frege by 218–156
4. John Stuart Mill  loses to Ludwig Wittgenstein by 280–135, loses to Bertrand Russell by 204–178
5. W.V.O. Quine  loses to Ludwig Wittgenstein by 291–150, loses to John Stuart Mill by 214–198
6. G.W.F. Hegel  loses to Ludwig Wittgenstein by 290–130, loses to W.V.O. Quine by 214–210
7. Saul Kripke  loses to Ludwig Wittgenstein by 314–138, loses to G.W.F. Hegel by 224–213
8. Friedrich Nietzsche  loses to Ludwig Wittgenstein by 290–117, loses to Saul Kripke by 209–207
9. Karl Marx  loses to Ludwig Wittgenstein by 359–95, loses to Friedrich Nietzsche by 254–138
10. Soren Kierkegaard  loses to Ludwig Wittgenstein by 358–124, loses to Karl Marx by 230–213
read more »

May 1st, 2012

The Six Doctrines of Possible Worlds

by Max Andrews

Our usual understanding of possible worlds are simply references to any possible state of affairs.  They have no ontic grounding or actuality.  It’s a semantic tool.  However, there are those who treat possible worlds as actual. (The world actual becomes very fuzzy in modal realism).  Philosopher David Lewis is the leading proponent of modal realism (Lewisian modal realism) and he has developed six essential doctrines to understanding modal realism:

  1. Possible worlds exist–they are just as real as our world
  2. Possible worlds are the same sort of things as our world–they differ in content, not in kind
  3. Possible worlds cannot be reduced to something more basic–they are irreducible entities in their own right
  4. Actuality is indexical.  When we distinguish our world from other possible worlds by claiming that it alone is actual, we mean only that it is our world
    read more »

March 28th, 2012

The Laws of Nature and the Metaphysical Multiverse

by Max Andrews

Regularity theory (RT) attempts to account for laws in a descriptive manner contra the necessitarian position (NT), which expresses the laws of nature as nomic necessity.  According to the RT the fundamental regularities are brute facts; they neither have nor require an explanation.  Regularity theorists attempt to formulate laws and theories in a language where the connectives are all truth functional.  Thus, each law is expressed with a universal quantifier as in [(x) (Px ⊃ Qx)].[1]  The NT states that there are metaphysical connections of necessity in the world that ground and explain the most fundamental regularities.  Necessitarian theorists usually use the word must to express this connection.[2]  Thus, NT maintains must-statements are not adequately captured by is-statements (must ≠ is, or certain facts are unaccounted for).[3]

The role of counterfactuals serves to make distinctions in regularities.  Concerning the RT and counterfactuals the regularist may claim that laws do not purport what will always occur but what would have occurred if things were different.  NT claims that it is difficult for RT to account for certain counterfactual claims because what happens in the actual world do not themselves imply anything about what would have happened had things been different.[4]  This is only a mere negative assertion on behalf of NT and carries no positive reason to adopt the NT position.  However, RT does have a limited scope in explanation. C.D. Broad argued that the very fact that laws entail counterfactuals is incompatible with regularity theory.[5]  He suggests that counterfactuals are either false or trivially true. If it is now true that Q occurs if P causally precedes Q then the regularist may sufficiently account for past counterfactual claims.  Given the present antecedent condition of P at tn and P implies Q at tn and it was true that P implied Q at tn-1 then using P as an antecedent for R at hypothetical tn-1’ then R is true if P was a sufficient condition R at tn-1’. Thus, RT accounts for past counterfactuals, but this is trivially true.  However, in positive favor of the NT, there is no reason to expect the world to continue to behave in a regular manner as presupposed by the practice of induction.  Consider Robin Collins’ illustration of this point: